What is the Visa Waiver Program?

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables nationals of certain countries (known as the Visa Waiver Countries), that are in a visa waiver agreement with New Zealand, to travel to New Zealand for tourism, study or business for stays of up to 90 days (or up to 6 months for British citizens), without obtaining a visa, if the traveler is in good health and of good character, is a genuine visitor, has enough money for his stay and a travel ticket out of New Zealand to a country he has the right to enter.

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Which are the current 60 Visa Waiver Countries?

Under the Immigration Act, 2009 and the Immigration (Visa, Entry Permission, and Related Matters) Regulations 2010, passport holders of the following 60 jurisdictions may travel to New Zealand without obtaining a visa for up to 90 days.

– All European Union citizens:

Austria
Cyprus
Finland
Hungary
Lithuania
Poland
Slovenia

Belgium
Czech Republic
France
Ireland
Luxembourg
Portugal
Spain

Bulgaria
Denmark
Germany
Italy
Malta
Romania
Sweden

Croatia
Estonia
Greece
Latvia
Netherlands
Slovakia
United Kingdom

– Other Countries:

Andorra
Brunei
Iceland
Liechtenstein
Mexico
Qatar
Singapore
United Arab Emirates

Argentina
Canada
Israel
Macau
Monaco
San Marino
Republic of South Korea
United States

Bahrain
Chile
Japan
Malaysia
Norway
Saudi Arabia
Switzerland
Uruguay

Brazil
Hong Kong
Kuwait
Mauritius
Oman
Seychelles
Taiwan
Vatican City

Apart from the above, Holders of “United Nations laissez-passer” also do not require a visa.
Please note that the purpose of the visit for all visa waiver countries must not be medical consultation or treatment.

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What is an “eTA” New Zealand?

The eTA for New Zealand (New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority) or NZeTA is an electronic visa waiver which will be launched in July 2019 and become obligatory for citizens of all 60 visa waiver countries, and all cruise travelers, by October 2019. All airline and cruise line crew will also need to hold a Crew ETA before traveling to New Zealand.
Citizens from eTA New Zealand eligible countries will be able to get an eTA for New Zealand by completing a simple online application form. The eTA application form will require applicants to answer a set of questions by furnishing personal information such as their name, address, date of birth, passport details, and travel itinerary. There will also be some questions in the New Zealand eTA visa form related to health and security.
There would be no need to physically go to an embassy or consulate, and the online application form will only take a matter of a few minutes to wrap up. Once approved, the eTA New Zealand would be sent over to the applicant electronically.
The New Zealand eTA would be valid for 2 years and could be used for multiple visits. Applicants would be required to pay a small processing fee and tourist tax, called the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL), to obtain the NZ eTA. The IVL has been introduced as a way for visitors to contribute directly to the tourism infrastructure and help protect the natural environment they savor during their stay in New Zealand.
Please note that if you are a citizen of a visa-required country, you are not eligible to apply for an eTA

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What is the Aim of the Electronic Travel Authority(eTA)?

The eTA – Electronic Travel Authority aims to:

  • reduce immigration risks and enhance security
  • address biosecurity risks and smuggling issues
  • enhance the traveler experience
  • support New Zealand’s international relationships and agreements
  • comply with the changing requirements and needs of the NZ government, stakeholders, and visitors over time.

The number of visitors to New Zealand has grown exponentially over the last few years, and the number will only grow. Given the status quo, most short-term visitors arriving by air or sea do not need to apply for a visa, which supports New Zealand’s tourism industry by making it easier to travel.

However, when people don’t have to apply for visas, Immigration only learns about them once they are en route to New Zealand. Immigration is unable to screen these travelers in advance for border and immigration risks and has a reduced capability to make entering New Zealand smoother and faster as technology evolves.

The introduction of the Electronic Travel Authority(eTA) intends to address these issues and is part of wider government efforts to make border-crossing as seamless and smooth as possible.

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Is an NZeTA a visa?

The definition of a visa goes as follows:

an endorsement on a passport indicating that the holder is allowed to enter, leave, or stay for a specified period of time in a country.

For some visitors, this eTA is a type of electronic visa since that’s exactly the purpose of this. But then there are different explanations:

  • Some suggest it’s not a visa because this applies to people from visa waiver countries
  • At the same time, some countries like Australia acknowledge that their eTA program is a type of visa

It all comes down to how countries want to market things. To some, when you have to fill out an application, pay money, and have to be approved, it’s a type of visa. But, unlike a visa, eTA doesn’t come with exorbitant fines or long waiting time.

NZeTA allows you to travel to New Zealand without the need for a regular Visa and is limited to certain cases for a maximum stay in New Zealand of 90 days (6 months in case of British citizens).

  • If you are going to New Zealand to work, you must request a visa.
  • If you are going to New Zealand for medical treatment or consultation, you must request a visa.
  • If you are immigrating to New Zealand, you must request a visa.
  • If your stay may exceed 90 days, it is advisable to apply for a visa.

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How to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)?

Applying for an eTA is a straightforward online process.
Applicants will need a valid passport, a valid debit/credit card (such as a MasterCard, Visa Credit / Debit / Electron card, UK Maestro, or American Express card) and a valid email-id where they can get their eTA approval.
The eTA application is then stored and linked to the applicant’s passport number. All visa records are stored in a database which facilitates online checking of visa details by visa holders, country’s registered organizations, and airline staff.
There is no requirement to physically present yourself or your travel document and get a visa stamp. The application is entirely performed over the internet in just a few clicks and provides advance permission to visit the country.

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Why are the eTA and IVL being introduced?

Currently, as travelers visiting New Zealand under the visa-waiver program do not apply for a pre-arranged visa, the New Zealand Government only learns of their identity “once they are en route to New Zealand,” as per the Immigration New Zealand. “We are unable to screen these travelers in advance for border and immigration risks,” the Department explains, adding that “the Electronic Travel Authority aims to deal with these issues and is part of wider government efforts to make border crossing as seamless as possible.”
As for the pricier International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL), the NZ Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) shares that it “ensures our international visitors contribute to the infrastructure they use and help protect the natural environment they enjoy.”

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Who is required to complete an eTA application form for New Zealand?

At present, there are a number of nationalities who can travel to New Zealand without a visa for up to 90 days. Citizens from the UK can enter for up to six months, and Australians hold residency status on arrival.

However, once the eTA New Zealand has been enforced, passport holders from all 60 visa waiver countries would be required to apply for an eTA before traveling to New Zealand by air or sea, even if just transiting through NZ on the way to their final destination. Also, all airline crew and cruise line crew, irrespective of their nationality, would need to apply for a Crew eTA before traveling to New Zealand, which would be valid for up to 5 years.

If you’re traveling to New Zealand any time after October 1st, 2019, you are going to need either an actual visa or an eTA(if you’re from a “visa waiver country”). If you are from a “visa-required country,” i.e., if you needed a visa before this date, you still need one.

You must request an NzeTA online before you travel to New Zealand if you are:

  • visiting or in transit from a “visa-waiver country” — all passengers traveling to New Zealand under the Visa Waiver Program must apply for an eTA authorization, which must be approved before traveling to New Zealand by air or sea
  • travel as part of a group, like your family, for example, each member of your family must fill out an eTA Form; even the underage members who do not pay a fare must have an approved travel authorization
  • a cruise ship passenger (irrespective of your nationality)
  • a permanent resident of Australia.

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Who does not need to apply for NZeTA?

You do not need an NZeTA to travel to New Zealand if you:

  • must apply for a New Zealand visa before you travel
  • already hold a valid New Zealand visa
  • are a New Zealand citizen traveling on:
    • a New Zealand passport, or
    • a foreign passport with an endorsement — for example, to say you are a permanent resident or citizen of New Zealand
  • are an Australian citizen traveling on an Australian passport.

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Do I need to apply for an eTA if I will only be in transit through New Zealand, en route to another country?

Yes, citizens of countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program require travel authorization to transit through New Zealand. If a traveler is only planning to transit through New Zealand en route to another country, when he or she completes the travel authorization application in eTA, the traveler should declare that he or she will be ‘in transit,’ and his or her final destination location.
For example, passengers flying with Air New Zealand from Sydney to Chicago via Auckland would require an eTA, as their journey transits New Zealand unless exempted from the requirement by traveling on a passport from Australia or New Zealand.

However, there is an exception: Regardless of which country/region your travel commenced from or is for travel to – if you hold a passport for one of the following countries/regions, you do not need a Transit Visa if you transit through Auckland and your transit time does not exceed 24 hours from the time of your arrival:

Bahamas, Bermuda, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Federated States of Micronesia, Indonesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa (Western), Solomon Islands, Thailand, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Venezuela.

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Can I visit Australia during my stay in New Zealand when my 90-day permit is about to expire?

It is a common practice that before the 90 days that are granted by an eTA permit are over, foreign nationals whose permit is about to expire travel briefly to Australia to request another travel permit for New Zealand that would grant them an additional 90 days. While entry is granted on many occasions, you must be aware that the migration officer processing your request may deny your entry to New Zealand, arguing that you are violating the spirit of migratory law. If you find yourself in similar circumstances whereby you need to extend your stay in New Zealand, we recommend you request a New Zealand visa at the New Zealand embassy of the country where you are, in order to avoid facing the aforementioned situation.

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Does the eTA or a VISA guarantee entry into New Zealand?

An approved eTA or a valid visa does not guarantee admission into New Zealand. The eTA approval authorizes the recipient to travel on an approved carrier to New Zealand. In the same way, travelers with a non-immigrant visa may travel to New Zealand for the purpose it was issued.
Once arriving at the first airport or port of entry, all foreign nationals with an approved eTA or valid visa have an immigration and customs inspection to clear. A New Zealand Customs and Border Security Officer will review your case and your documents, and then decide upon your admission into the country.

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How long is my eTA approval valid for?

To enter New Zealand, you are required to have a passport which is valid for at least three months beyond your intended date of departure. Applicants will need to have a valid passport from one of the 60 eligible countries (visa-waiver countries) to apply for eTA New Zealand. The New Zealand eTA will be valid for two years, unless:

  • Your Passport expires
  • Your Name, Nationality or Gender change
  • You become a PR (Permanent Resident) of New Zealand
  • An Immigration Officer cancels your existing eTA
  • A new eTA is issued

If you come from a country that requires a New Zealand visa to enter, please make sure to apply for a visa in advance.

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When do I need to request an eTA?

Much like the ESTA in the USA, or the new European equivalent, these “visas” in everything but name require up to 72 hours of processing. If you were landing on the 1st of November, you would want to apply before the 29th of October, to be on the safer side. Most eTAs should be approved within hours, but you won’t be able to board the flight before you get approval.

You may be able to request an NZeTA when you check in, but if the authorities cannot process your request in time or if they decline it, then you will not be allowed to board the plane.

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Can I apply for an eTA if I am not sure whether I will be traveling to New Zealand?

Potential travelers may submit their eTA request and receive travel authorization without specific travel plans if they want to be able to travel at any given moment. Visa Waiver Program travelers are not required to have specific plans to travel to New Zealand before they apply for a travel authorization. If a traveler’s destination address in New Zealand is unknown, at the time when he or she completes the application for an eTA for the travel authorization, the traveler should enter the name of the hotel or approximate location he or she intends to visit. Travelers may update this information when their plans are finalized, but they will not be required to update their destination addresses or itineraries should they change after their travel authorization has been approved. The INZ(Immigration New Zealand) recommends that applications for travel authorization be submitted for an eTA as early as possible, as soon as, or even before travel is planned.

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What are the rules if I am transiting through Auckland?

Irrespective of the country/region your travel started from or is for travel to – if you hold a passport for one of the following countries/regions, you do not need a Transit-Visa if you transit through Auckland and your transit time does not exceed 24 hours from the time of your arrival.

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Important eTA Requirements – what you need to know

These are the minimum requirements to apply for admission under the Visa Waiver Program(VWP) through eTA:

  • Your stay in New Zealand will be 90 days (6 months in the case of UK citizens) or less.
  • The purpose of your trip is for business, pleasure, vacations, or transit en route to another country.
  • You have a valid passport lawfully issued to you by one of the Visa-Waiver countries.
  • You have applied for authorization to travel via eTA, and the response has been “eTA Approved.”
  • You must arrive via a Visa Waiver Program signatory carrier. You must have a return or onward ticket.
  • Your travel may not terminate in contiguous territory or adjacent islands unless the traveler is a resident of one of those areas.
  • You are a citizen or national of one of the Visa-Waiver countries.

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What are the passport requirements for traveling with an eTA?

Before you begin your trip to New Zealand, please see that your passport is all ready for the trip as well.

For Australian and New Zealand passport holders, or Australian permanent residents and New Zealand residents, your passport must be valid at least on the date you travel to New Zealand (must be valid on your arrival and departure dates).

In the case of visitors to New Zealand who is non-Australian or New Zealand passport holders or permanent residents, that are coming to New Zealand as visitors, students or workers, your passport must be either:

  • Valid for at least three months beyond the date you intend to leave New Zealand.
  • Or one month in the case of nationals that have consular representation in New Zealand, that is able to issue and renew travel documents. Please check with your countries issuing passport office before traveling.
  • Not defaced, damaged, or worn out.
  • Having a visa or permit stamped if you require one.

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Computer Requirements to submit an eTA application

The minimum computer configuration to be able to access the online system and submitting your application for United States travel authorization are very simple, and any modern computer will meet the requirements. In any case, if your computer is older or if you have not updated your software in a very long time, make sure your computer has updated versions of:

  • An Internet browser that supports 128-bit encryption.
  • All modern browsers have 128-bit encryption or above.
  • All major browsers are supported.
  • For example, Internet Explorer, Chrome, Chromium, Firefox, and Safari. If you have any of these, just make sure you are using the latest version.
  • Please verify the release of the browser is the most up to date, and that it is able to accept cookies and has JavaScript
  • Usually, all browsers accept cookies, and are JavaScript-compatible and enabled. However, in public computers such as those in libraries, cybercafés, and call centers, it is possible that some of these configurations are modified.

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Is my eTA New Zealand registration secure?

Yes, New Zealand eTA registrations will use secure servers. Personal information provided by applicants will be protected through encryption to prevent third parties from accessing it. In addition, all personal data will be subject to our Privacy Policy and will be treated as confidential.

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What is the required Information to fill in the eTA application form?

Eligible citizens will be able to complete the New Zealand eTA application form by completing all the sections with the required information. Applicants will need to enter a range of information, including:

  • Full name
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Passport details
  • Contact information
  • Declarations around the intention of travel and criminal history
  • Optional biometric information (a passport photo will be required if applying via a channel that allows it to be automatically captured)

To avoid complications, applicants will need to carefully enter and revise all the data they enter. Any inaccuracies on the New Zealand eTA form could lead to delays and even eTA denials.

After an applicant has completed the online eTA New Zealand form and paid the eTA fee and tourist levy using a credit or debit card, the initial application will be complete. The vast majority of New Zealand eTA applications will be quickly processed and approved.

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What are the application process prerequisites?

The eTA application process is pretty simple and straightforward. The travelers need to be mindful of three prerequisites before applying for an eTA. The three important requirements for eTA are described below:

Prerequisite #1 – A Valid Passport Number

 Before applying for an electronic Travel Authorization, you are required to possess a valid passport from a visa-waiver country. For instance, if you hold a passport from a visa-waiver country of origin like Ireland, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the USA, you will need to enter your passport number to obtain eTA. All other forms of travel documents (except a valid passport from a visa-waiver country) will be declined.

Prerequisite #2 – A Valid Email ID

Applying for an eTA is a pretty simple electronic process. Most of the of applicants usually get their eTA approvals within a cinch. Nonetheless, in some cases, eTA approvals may take a few days to process if the visitor is requested to submit supporting documents.

In the complete process, you will need to use a valid email ID where all of the eTA related information should be directly sent across to you. For instance, you will be receiving a notification email once your online eTA application request is submitted. If you are required to furnish some relevant supporting documents to further process your eTA, the entire instruction set will be communicated to you through email. Once your eTA is approved by the New Zealand government, you will be instantly notified by the email you have provided.

Prerequisite #3 – A Valid Debit Card or Credit Card

In the online eTA application process, the applicants need to pay an application fee online with their browser (once the online form is filled and submitted). They will also pay the IVL fee at the same time, which covers tourism infrastructure for New Zealand. Note, the application fee and IVL is non-refundable. The applicants can pay the nonrefundable fee simply using a valid prepaid credit card or debit card(such as a MasterCard, Visa Credit / Debit / Electron card, UK Maestro, or American Express card).

Once you have satisfied the aforementioned three requirements and you’ve paid the application fee, you are eligible to obtain your eTA, and it will be valid for up to 2 years.

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What is the Privacy Policy of the INZ(Immigration New Zealand) regarding personal data obtained through the online eTA application?

This privacy statement applies to the collection and security of personal data and other information collected on the INZ(Immigration New Zealand) website and how it is utilized. You can also find out how you can access your personal information that the INZ holds on you.

Collecting information:

When you apply for an eTA, INZ collects some mandatory information from you to determine: your identity and whether you are eligible to apply for an eTA.

The collection of your personal information is approved by the Immigration Act 2009 and the Immigration Regulations under this Act. The furnishing of your information is voluntary, but please note that if you do not furnish indispensable information required in the eTA application, your eTA application may not be accepted.

INZ has legal accountability to protect any information they collect from you. INZ’s online services have been designed to meet national and international security parameters to shield and protect all the personal information collected.

You can contact the Privacy Commissioner at Office of the Privacy Commissioner, PO Box 10094, Wellington 6143; or by email at enquiries@privacy.org.nz.

Use of information: 

INZ will never divulge your personal information to any third party in a form that will identify you except in the following circumstances:

  • Where you have agreed to such disclosure.
  • Where such disclosure is necessary or allowed by the Privacy Act 1993, or otherwise necessary or permitted by law.

Please note that INZ is lawfully authorized to share data with other government agencies under applicable law.

INZ might also make use of your information to determine your right to board a flight to New Zealand. Be assured that your personal information is not shared with any airline check-in agents. When you check in to board the plane, the check-in agent only sees a boarding instruction based on the information you have provided in any application you submit. INZ may also use your information to get in touch with you for research purposes or to advise you on matters related to immigration.

Access to your personal information: 

You have the right to:

  • find out from INZ whether they hold personal information about you
  • access that information
  • request corrections to that information, if applicable.

In accordance with the ‘Privacy Act 1993’, INZ reserves the right to deny your request if they have a valid reason.

If you wish to check personal information held about you, you would like to get in touch with your local Visa Application Center (VAC) or INZ office. If you do not have a local VAC or INZ office, you can contact them or post your inquiry to Immigration New Zealand, PO Box 3705, Wellington 6140.

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Should I contact the New Zealand Embassy?

If you are going to stay in New Zealand for less than 90 days (less than 6 months in case of UK citizens) and belong to one of the Visa Waiver Countries, you do not need to apply for a visa at the New Zealand Embassy. You may apply for an eTA online thanks to the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP).

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How do you keep your eTA status up to date after expiration?

Even if you have gone through the entire process before, you will have to start a new eTA application. Although you cannot renew your eTA, you can receive a new one without much difficulty. While this may seem quite inconvenient and annoying, the best part is that you have already done this before, so you know exactly what and how to do. Make sure you have all your travel documents already before you start—including your new passport if you have recently replaced it.

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How can I avoid frequent reapplication?

New Zealand eTAs are designed to last for a full two years. However, if your passport expires before this time, your eTA will also expire. In order to avoid having to reapply for an eTA before two years has finished, be sure your passport is up to date and valid for at least two years. You may need to renew your passport early. In some cases, it will not be worth it to renew your passport before it expires, considering, high passport fees and long processing times, while eTA applications often take only a few minutes or a couple of days to process. However, if you have a reason to avoid reapplying for your eTA before the two-year validity limit, you may want to prioritize your eTA status over the convenience of keeping your current passport until it expires. For example, you may have trouble with long eTA processing times if you have a criminal record, or if you have a major health concern.

Unfortunately, there is no way to receive an extension for your NZeTA. When your eTA expires, you will have to reapply. However, as you experienced during your initial eTA application, the process is fairly quick and easy. All you have to do is duplicate your original application, updating the information when necessary.

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What are the possible responses to my NZeTA application?

If you have applied for an eTA, or if you have an existing eTA, you could conveniently verify your eTA status online. Here, you would be taken to a page where you could enter certain information, such as your application number or your passport number, and retrieve your status. First, you have to select whether you are checking your eTA application status or the validity of your existing eTA. You have to furnish your passport number, country of issue, issue date, and expiration date. Once you have entered this information, you can retrieve your eTA status. There are five possible statuses returned by the eTA status check:

  • eTA Not Found: This means either you entered the wrong information when checking your eTA statuses, such as the wrong application number, passport number, passport issue or expiry dates, or that you did not actually submit an eTA application. If you have recently applied your status returns ‘eTA Not Found,’ and you are 100% sure the information you provided on the eTA status check form is correct, this means the system may still be in the early stages of processing your application. Wait for a few hours and check the system again.
  • eTA Application Received: This status is for applications that have been received by New Zealand’s Immigration system, yet have not yet been processed. It can take anywhere from a few minutes to up to 72 hours for your application to be approved.
  • eTA Manual Review: If your eTA application has triggered a manual review, you will likely be notified of the status and will be requested to provide additional documentation to support your eTA application, such as scans of your passport, police records if you have previous criminal history or any other documents New Zealand Immigration personnel would need to verify before reaching a decision on your application. If your eTA application is not approved within a few minutes, it likely requires further processing, and you can expect to receive an email from INZ within 72 hours containing additional instructions.
  • eTA Declined: If your eTA application has been processed and is declined, then you will not be able to travel to New Zealand using an eTA. However, you may still be eligible to apply for a New Zealand Tourist visa to visit the country.
  • eTA Approved: Approved eTA applications are valid for a period of two years (for multiple entries), or until the date of passport expiry, whichever date comes first. An approved eTA does not guarantee admission into New Zealand, and the final decision of entry rests on New Zealand Immigration Border Authorities.

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What are the top reasons my NZeTA application might be declined?

As per the law, New Zealand can deny you entry if you are disqualified under sections 15 and 26 of the Immigration Act 2009. According to this law, you will not be granted a visa, an eTA or entry permission,  if you have been in the following scenarios:

  • Have been convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for 5 years or more of any offenses that were taken off the record
  • Have been convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for 12 months or more in the past 10 years
  • Subject to a period of prohibition on entry to New Zealand under section 179 or section 180 of the Immigration law
  • Have been removed or deported from any country including New Zealand
  • Excluded from New Zealand under any enactment
  • Are a member of a terrorist entity or
  • The Minister believes that:
    1. You are likely to commit an offense while in New Zealand that is punishable by imprisonment
    2. Likely to be a threat or a risk to security
    3. Likely to be a threat to public order
    4. Likely to be a threat to the public interest.

If you think that you do not belong to the aforementioned category of people or you have never been in any of the situations listed above, then your application might be declined because of the following reasons:

  • Inadequate information
  • You are not in New Zealand lawfully, at the time of the application
  • You did not meet the acceptable standards of good health and good character
  • The immigration officer believes that the information that you have on your application is not genuine
  • If the officer has reasons to believe that your objective of traveling to New Zealand is not authentic or that you have no plan to abide by the conditions stated on your visa

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Can I appeal for a Reconsideration of my declined eTA?

No, once your New Zealand eTA application is rejected, you can not appeal for reconsideration of your previous application, as the New Zealand immigration doesn’t allow an appeal.

Under section 186 of the Immigration Act of 2009, there is no right of appeal or reconsideration against a decision on a temporary entry class visa application made outside of New Zealand. If you have new information that has not been considered by INZ, you can submit a further application. This would be considered on its merits and would need to show that you meet all relevant New Zealand government immigration instructions.

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If my application for eTA was unsuccessful, can I get my processing fee back?

The processing fee is non-refundable and non-transferable.

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Can I get my eTA on arrival?

No, you need to apply for your eTA or visa to New Zealand before you arrive in New Zealand.

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What Happens if I Overstay my New Zealand eTA?

The eTA New Zealand will be available for the 60 visa-exempt countries and will allow them a stay of 90 days maximum in the country, with a total validity of 2 years.

Those with the New Zealand eTA wishing to stay in the country longer, or to study, work or live will require a different type of New Zealand visa before traveling. However, no matter which visa for New Zealand is obtained, an overstayed New Zealand visa or an eTA can incur severe penalties.

If a foreign citizen finds themselves with an overstayed New Zealand eTA, then they are legally obliged to leave the country immediately. Travelers who remain in New Zealand illegally may be subject to the following overstaying New Zealand visa penalties:

  • A prohibition from working, studying, and having access to healthcare.
  • Criminal charges and immigration status review for family members who helped the overstayed eTA holder remain in New Zealand.
  • Risk of detention and deportation on the traveler’s dollar, even if they have already raised a different visa request.
  • A travel ban to New Zealand.

Holders of an overstayed New Zealand eTA who are deported may not be able to return to the country until the prohibition period is over and the deportation fees have been repaid.

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NZeTA or New Zealand visa: How to work out which one suits you best?

There are several factors to take into consideration when deciding on one system over the other. Some of the most important are the following:

Length of stay: If your stay in New Zealand is longer than 90 days (or more than 180 days for British Citizens), you must request a Visa at the New Zealand Embassy; if it is 90 days or less (or less than 180 days in case of British Citizens), you may apply through NZeTA.

Purpose of your visit: A New Zealand visa will open up a wider variety of possibilities. In the following list, you will see the main travel purposes and the recommended options:

·        Tourism: The NZeTA is well suited for short term tourists, from Visa Waiver Countries, arriving by air or sea, which in turn supports New Zealand’s tourism industry by making it easier to travel.

·        Short-duration Medical Treatments: Even if you are from a Visa Waiver Country, you have to apply for a visa (Medical Treatment Visitor Visa) to come to New Zealand for medical treatment or consultation.  NZeTA does not permit even short term medical treatment or consultation.

·        Business: If you are visiting New Zealand for short-duration business purposes, you may submit your request through NZeTA. For example, Purchase or sale of a house or any other type of property, Visits fairs and conventions, Signing contracts, whether personal or on behalf of your company. For bigger purposes like – investing capital in New Zealand, starting a new business, taking over an existing business or if you are an employee of relocating a business, you need to go for a Business Immigration visa.

·        Studying: If you’re traveling to New Zealand for taking an Exam or studying a short course (for example, Summer English courses) that is less than three months, you could go for an eTA. You’ll need a student visa if you’re planning to study here full time and the course is for longer than three months.

·        Transit: If your visit is for transit purposes, meaning you will only visit New Zealand as a means to reach your final destination in another country, you may request your permit through eTA.

·        Work: If you will be receiving compensation for your work during your stay in New Zealand, it is mandatory that you request a New Zealand Work visa. Travelers who submit their request through eTA may not perform any kind of work activity during their visit.

·        Marriage: If you belong to one of the visa waiver countries and are planning a destination wedding in New Zealand, you can do that as long as you have a marriage license, you are not already married, at least 16 years of age, and you are not a close relative to the person you intend to marry. Requests submitted through eTA do not allow you to extend, renew or change the purpose of your trip, so while you could get married in New Zealand, you would not be able to request residence or citizenship, nor an extension of your stay.

·        Immigration or Citizenship: If you travel to New Zealand with the intention of immigrating to the country, your only viable option is a New Zealand Immigration visa. eTA does not allow any type of change to the purpose of your visit and would not allow you to request your residence or getting your citizenship, not even for a long-term visit.

Please note that NZeTA is applicable only for the citizens of visa waiver countries. If you are a national of a visa-required country, you are not eligible to apply for an eTA.

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Do very young children and babies need an eTA for New Zealand?

Yes, they do. The process of applying for a New Zealand eTA for babies or young children is the same. Parents and guardians will need to complete the application form on the child’s behalf.

Each child traveling must obtain an eTA before departing. Each application is separately processed and cannot be joined with your own. If your child or children are linked to your passport, you still need to submit individual applications. Each child needs an NZeTA, updated, and valid.

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What are the eTA exemptions?

Australian citizens will be exempt from applying for eTA NZ. Australian permanent residents will need to apply for an eTA but are not required to pay the associated tourist levy i.e. IVL.

Other exemptions from the New Zealand eTA include:

  • Crew and passengers of a non-cruise vessel
  • The crew on a foreign ship carrying cargo
  • Guests of the New Zealand Government
  • Foreign citizens traveling under The Antarctic Treaty
  • Members of a visiting force and associated crew members.

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How much does a New Zealand eTA cost?

The eTA process can be completed entirely online on a secure website through a web browser. There is a nominal fee to enter New Zealand, and also a service fee. You’ll also pay the IVL fee at the same time, which includes tourism infrastructure for New Zealand. Once paid, the IVL will last as long as the ETA is valid.

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How soon or late can I use my approved eTA?

Your eTA allows you to make your initial entry into New Zealand as soon as it is approved and no later than two years from the date of grant. An eTA is valid for two years only.

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What are the eTA proper usage conditions?

Conditions of an eTA are:

  • It is your obligation to understand what all your eTA permits you to do while in New Zealand.
  • After your eTA is approved, you would be able to enter and leave New Zealand as many times as you want to during a 2 year period, from the date the eTA is granted or until the expiry date of your passport, whichever comes first.
  • You can stay in New Zealand for a maximum of 90 days (6 months for British citizens) on each visit.
  • You must not study for more than 90 days (6 months for British citizens).
  • You must not be suffering from tuberculosis.
  • You must not have any criminal convictions for which you have been sentenced for a total combined period of 12 months or more, whether or not you served a sentence/s.
  • It is prohibited to work on an eTA. You can only undertake small business visitor activities such as attending conferences, the undertaking of business inquiries, and contractual negotiations.

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What info will be on my New Zealand eTA?

Within 72 hours of applying you will receive a confirmation e-mail regarding your New Zealand eTA status by New Zealand’s Department of Immigration. Below, is some information that may be on your New Zealand eTA:

Detailed Information on your New Zealand eTA:

  • Family Name: Pre/Suffixes will not be listed (Jr, Sr, Mr/Mrs, S/O) only your surname will show here.
  • Given Name: First, Second, any other given names listed on your passport.
  • Passport: Your passport number, nationality, and expiration date.
  • Date of Birth, Sex, Your Gender as M/F (Male/Female) and Country of Birth listed in its 3-digit country code
  • eTA Status: If approved, the document states “eTA Approved.”
  • Time Stamp: This is the date and time of when your eTA was issued by the government of New Zealand.
  • eTA Expiry Date: This is your last day to enter New Zealand. Note, you can stay beyond this date, but less than 3 months.

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When do I get an eTA stamp in my passport?

Your eTA is electronically linked to your passport number, you will not require a stamp, nor will one be issued.

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Do I need Travel insurance when traveling to New Zealand?

Travel Insurance is not mandatory, but it is advised. A policy covering you for flight cancellations/delays, theft, loss, accidents, and medical problems before you leave home is strongly recommended, particularly if you plan on doing any adventure activities such as scuba diving, bush-walking or traveling in remote areas, as medical facilities in New Zealand are quite expensive.

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Can I work in New Zealand on an eTA?

The answer is Strict NO. eTA is not intended for work purposes. Taking employment while in New Zealand on an eTA is breaching the conditions of an eTA and calls for grave consequences.

New Zealand employers will analyze if you have the correct visa permitting you to work. Should you wish to work in New Zealand, perhaps on a Working Holiday Visa (up to 12 months, or 23 months if you are from the UK or Canada), or want to emigrate permanently under New Zealand’s “Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa,” seek help from Immigration New Zealand.
If you have been offered a job in New Zealand while visiting and decide you want to work, you may apply for permission to work by applying for an “Essential Skills work visa” or “Work to Residence visa.”
You cannot start work until the Immigration Department has approved your application. Working without permission is a criminal offense that carries hefty fines and penalties, could see your visa revoked and you could be even banished from the country.

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Can Travel Agents help you with your NzeTA?

A Travel Agent can help you complete your NZeTA request online. You will need to supply the following information to your travel agent:

  • Travel document details (passport).
  • Biographic details (photo).
  • Contact details (email).
  • Information that enables INZ to determine your eligibility to travel to New Zealand without a visa (such as a declaration about a criminal conviction history).
  • Information about the purpose of your trip (such as whether you are traveling to seek medical treatment).

The information provided will be used to confirm whether you are eligible to visit New Zealand and will be checked against other information available to INZ, such as the International Lost and Stolen Passports list.

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How do I modify the information on my eTA New Zealand?

Please note that once submitted your eTA cannot be updated. Because of this fact, if you have paid the service and processing fees, they cannot be refunded, and you will be required to again pay them in entirety when submitting a new application. It is therefore very important that you thoroughly check all information furnished, the personal information and answers to the questions asked, before finally submitting your eTA application.

Although your eTA is valid for two years following its approval, make sure all the information be accurate at the time of each of your visits. If you find any information inaccurate, the only solution is to complete and submit a new application to INZ. This inaccuracy could be due to a change in your passport number if you have lost and replaced or renewed your passport or it could be a result of a change in your gender or identity, even nationality or address. In all aforementioned cases, on each visit to New Zealand, the consistency of the information given by your eTA and that of your passport or other identity documents will be methodically cross-checked by your travel company. If a mismatch or any inconsistency is found then you may not be permitted to board your transport.
You should therefore thoroughly verify all information furnished and the continued accuracy for any future visit. If this information is no longer true or accurate, then you will need to update your eTA.

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Is it possible to renew a New Zealand eTA?

Unfortunately, it is not possible to renew your existing eTA. A New Zealand eTA is valid for two years, and then you must reapply for a new eTA. Extensions do not exist. Additionally, if your passport expires before your eTA’s 2-year tenure is over, then your eTA will automatically expire(as an eTA is linked to your passport). An eTA is electronic rather than physical, and it is not designed to be carried over to new passports or to be extended.

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In which cases am I required to update my eTA?

In theory, once approved, your eTA travel authorization for New Zealand is valid for a period of two years and can, therefore, be used for numerous visits during this time period as long as you respect certain conditions such as the maximum length of stay which should not exceed 90 days. However, there are certain cases in which it is imperative that you reapply for your eTA. Here are the details of these particular cases:

  • Change of Passport: If the passport you used when completing your eTA application has expired or you have lost it, then you should apply for a new passport. Your passport number is directly linked electronically to your eTA, so it is, therefore, necessary to modify this information.
  • Change of Identity: If you recently changed your personal identity information due to a change of first or last name or following your wedding then you will need to notify this change on your eTA or risk being refused entry into New Zealand. This is also the case with a Change of Gender, which is also considered to be a change of your personal identity.
  • Change of Nationality: If you obtain a new nationality your eTA will no longer be valid for travel to New Zealand as it is and you will be obliged to modify it.
  • Changes in your Answers on the Questionnaire: When you complete your eTA application, you will be required to answer certain questions where the answer is either ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ If one or more of your answers to these questions changes, then you will also need to modify your eTA.
  • When the Validity Period has Expired: Finally, you should update your eTA when its validity period has expired.

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What happens if I made a mistake on my eTA application?

Once an application is submitted processed and payment is made, you cannot cancel the transaction, and the payment cannot be reimbursed. Therefore, please ensure that you enter your personal details correctly. If you have made an error, it is important that you correct it before confirmation. Once you have confirmed the details, your electronic payment card (credit card/e-commerce enabled debit card) will be debited for the non-refundable service charge. If you find out later that you have made a mistake, then you will have to submit a new application and pay the relevant fee again.

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What do you need to enter New Zealand?

Before you board an airplane to New Zealand, you must ensure that you possess a passport that is valid for at least 3 months beyond the date that you plan on departing from New Zealand.
For eg., if you plan to stay in New Zealand from October 3 to October 21, your passport must be valid up to at least 3 months after October 21, so at least till January 21. If there is a possibility that your passport expires before that date, try to renew your passport even before you leave your country.

In addition to a valid passport, you will also need to have proof that you will be leaving New Zealand by having, for instance, a return ticket and also a proof that you have enough money to meet your expenses in New Zealand.

The second thing you might need is a visitor’s visa or an eTA. If you are a citizen of one of the visa-waiver countries, you still need an eTA to enter New Zealand if you plan on staying less than three months(or less than six months if you are from the United Kingdom).

Australian citizens do not need a visa or an eTA to enter New Zealand.

Please note that if you have a criminal past, you could be denied entry into New Zealand. So again, seek advice if this is the case for you.

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What happens on the airplane before it lands in New Zealand?

Before you get off the aircraft, you might get a New Zealand Passenger Arrival Card that you must fill out for customs and immigration. If you do not get one, you should be able to pick one up and fill it out in the customs and immigration hall.

The passenger arrival card asks questions about you, the purpose of your visit, and what you are bringing into New Zealand. This information is used to determine whether you can be allowed into the country.

Never make false declarations on your passenger arrival card. Be aware of what you can and cannot enter within the country, so take some time to comprehend what kind of information you must fill out on the passenger arrival card.

Generally, just avoid bringing in any food, plant, or animal products. Don’t carry too much money in cash – you must declare anything over $10,000 – but do carry enough money in cash and as plastic cards that you can spend to survive and take care of yourself during your entire stay in New Zealand.

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What happens when you arrive at passport control?

When you arrive at passport control, you must hand over your passport and the arrival card you filled out.

The immigration officer may ask you a few questions based on the documents you handed over but also general questions such as how long you will be staying, what the purpose of your visit is, whether you are visiting family or friends, etc. etc.

General rules for answering these questions are:

  1. If you are asked a Yes/No question, stick to a Yes/No answer without elaborating much.
  1. Keep your answers as brief and crisp as possible without any small talk.
  1. If you are asked to elaborate, do so, but still, keep it short.
  1. Always be aware of where you are heading to, where you would be putting up, and what you would be indulging in, in New Zealand because that information is usually at the top of the list of questions asked.
  1. As a solo traveler, be assured that it is okay to say that you are alone in New Zealand and that you will not be visiting anyone.

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What happens when you arrive at customs?

Once you get through passport control, you must head to collect your baggage.

While waiting for your bags to arrive, a customs officer and a dog might pay you a visit. If you are asked to put some of your belongings on the ground, please oblige. This is being asked for the dog to sniff for restricted items, which includes food. If the dog hints that there might be prohibited items in your bags, the officer might ask to frisk your bags.

Once you have collected your luggage and are walking toward the exit, you might be asked to put your bags through x-ray for screening. The customs officers may also ask to manually frisk your bags.

And eventually, there would be another customs officer waiting to collect your arrival card, and perhaps inquire you about items you have marked on your card. This is for biosecurity reasons. For example, if you have camping gear or hiking shoes checked on the card, you may be questioned about it.

Also, last but not the least, before leaving home, just ensure that everything(e.g., Shoes, backpack, etc.) is neat and clean, and without any mud on them, and you should be good to go.

New Zealand is extremely rigid about biosecurity. So make sure you are well aware of and religiously follow all the rules and guidelines.

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What happens when you get into the arrivals hall?

Once you have gotten the green signal from both customs and immigration, it is time to actually enter New Zealand. If you have done your research work of studying airport maps, you would know exactly which direction to take to quickly exit the airport.

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What is “Global Entry Membership” for U.S. citizens?

U.S. citizens with Global Entry membership traveling to New Zealand may use a dedicated lane arriving at Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch International Airports. The lanes will streamline border processing for U.S. Global Entry members.

Lanes are marked with signs that say “U.S. Global Entry.” To be eligible to use the lanes, U.S. Global Entry members simply present their Global Entry card, their U.S. passport, and arrival documentation. This initiative is the result of an agreement between New Zealand and the United States to improve the border experience for travelers flying between the two countries.

U.S. Global Entry members will still be subject to standard customs, immigration, and biosecurity processes on arrival in New Zealand.

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What you need to know to get through Immigration and Customs quickly

You are screened when you check in and when you arrive in NZ. If you do not have valid documents and a genuine reason for traveling to New Zealand, the Immigration can refuse to let you travel. Take care of the following points before you travel:

 Check your Passport:

Check that your passport:

  • will not expire until:
    • 3 months after your date of departure from New Zealand, or
    • 1 month after your departure, but only if your passport was issued by a country that has a New Zealand embassy or consulate that issues passports
  • is valid — which means, that it has not been invalidated or reported lost or stolen
  • matches with the corresponding details on your

If you are not using the same passport that your eTA is linked to, you must re-apply for a new eTA to link your eTA to the new passport before you travel.

 Prepare your eTA when entering NZ

 You might not be permitted to enter New Zealand if you are unable to furnish enough evidence that you meet the conditions of your eTA.

Following are the documents you need to carry with you:

  • a copy of your eTA Approval letter, and
  • evidence that you can meet the conditions of your eTA — for instance, you can use:
    • the travel ticket of your onward journey, to prove that you have planned to leave New Zealand, and
    • bank statements to show that you have enough money to meet your expenses while you are staying in New Zealand.

Do not purchase your tickets before the immigration NZ grants you an eTA or your application is approved in principle. If there is a delay in processing your application or they do not grant you an eTA, your ticket might get wasted, or you might have to reschedule your travel.

Even though you are from a visa-waiver country, immigration can still ask you to provide evidence to support your eTA application to enter New Zealand.

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Information about you – what is required by INZ?

Before you board your flight or ship to New Zealand, the Immigration New Zealand checks their records to make sure you are allowed to travel to the country. The airlines also provide them with information — known as Passenger Name Record (PNR) data — which the INZ uses to further screen travelers.

There are 2 types of information Immigration New Zealand (INZ) collects:

  • Advance Passenger Processing (APP) information — this is collected when you check in. This includes your name, passport number, and country of issue, nationality, date of birth, and gender. INZ keeps the data for 5 years and then archives it.
  • Passenger Name Record (PNR) data — this is information airlines, and travel agents collect about your booking. This includes name, contact details, including your address and phone numbers, ticketing information including information relating to payments and travel agent details, travel itinerary, baggage and seating information, and who else is included in your booking.

INZ manages border risks by collecting information about foreign nationals who fly to New Zealand. INZ may need to ask you some questions before you board or when you arrive. This applies to everyone, including people who already hold a visa and travelers in transit.

What Immigration checks

In addition to checking your passport and eTA, INZ also checks that you are a bona fide traveler and have a genuine reason for visiting New Zealand. You must answer all questions asked by immigration officers honestly, or you may not be allowed to enter the country.

Onward travel

INZ may want to see your ticket showing when you will leave New Zealand. They may ask to see other travel tickets or visas if you leave to go to a country that you:

  • need to have a visa or onward travel ticket for
  • are not a citizen of — you need to show that you have the right to enter that country.

They do not need to see this if your visa label or letter says:

  • return/onward travel not required, or
  • the holder of this visa is sponsored.

Supporting yourself in New Zealand

INZ may also want to see evidence of how you will support yourself financially while you are in New Zealand.

Your Character

They may also want to check that you are of good character and will comply with the conditions of your visa. This could include questions about any criminal convictions you have or whether you have been deported from another country.

Your Health

INZ may also ask for evidence about your health. Before you can enter New Zealand, you must be in good health or be granted a medical waiver. Purpose of the visit for all eTA-eligible (visa waiver) countries must not be medical consultation or treatment.

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Applying for entry permission in New Zealand

When you arrive in New Zealand, you apply for entry permission. This process is usually quick, but immigration officers may ask you some extra questions before granting you entry permission. You must answer these questions honestly.

How you apply for entry permission

 There are 2 ways to apply:

  • by presenting your documents to an immigration officer,
  • by using a Smartgate or eGate — this uses biometrics to match the picture of your face in your e-Passport with the picture it takes of you at the gate, and is applicable to individuals 12 years or older having an e-passport from any of these countries: New Zealand, Australia, UK, US, Canada, China(excluding Hong-Kong), France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, and Singapore.

To apply for entry permission, you need to have your:

  • completed arrival card — this will be given to you on the plane or ship before you arrive
  • passport
  • eTA — if you are eligible for and had to apply for one
  • travel ticket of your onward journey out of New Zealand to a country you have the right to enter

Customs and biosecurity

Other border agencies such as the New Zealand Customs Service and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) check that you meet their entry requirements. You could be refused entry if you do not.

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What can I/can I not carry into New Zealand?

After you’ve cleared passport control, you should collect your baggage and proceed through customs and biosecurity checks. In order to protect New Zealand and its environment, certain items are not allowed to be brought into the country, have restrictions for entry or must be declared if they are deemed to present a biosecurity risk. These include food, plants or plant products, animals or animal products, other biosecurity risk items like medicines, biological cultures, organisms or soil, and outdoor recreational equipment like hunting, hiking, fishing, gardening, golf or sports equipment.

Also, be aware of products covered by the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species ) agreement, as New Zealand is a party to the CITES agreement. CITES items, such as Products from endangered animal or plant species, are not allowed into New Zealand without a special permit.

Your baggage may be sniffed by a detector dog and/or x-rayed, and it may be searched to identify any risk or prohibited goods you might be carrying.

To make sure your arrival in New Zealand goes smoothly, you’ll need to know about the following:

  • Passenger Arrival Cardsthese are usually given to you to complete by your crew on your way to New Zealand. The cards tell you what they consider is ‘risk goods’
  • declaring all risk items on your card – goods like food, plants, wooden products, soil, water, outdoor equipment, and animal products. Declared risk goods may then be inspected
  • disposing of undeclared risk goods in marked amnesty bins on your arrival
  • prohibited and restricted items like products from endangered animal or plant species
  • infringement fees, fines and penalties for not declaring risk items on your Passenger Arrival Card.

As a visitor to New Zealand, you may be entitled to various concessions and duty-free entries on some of your goods. If you are 17 years or older, you are entitled to allowances for alcohol, cigarettes, and tobacco. You may have to pay Customs duties and other charges on items you import privately or commercially.

Elaboration on Prohibited and Restricted Items

Some items are prohibited and cannot be imported into New Zealand, and some require approval to import.

You can’t bring any of these items into New Zealand:

  • objectionable material contained on items like videotapes, films, records, CD-ROMs and in publications
  • weapons like flick knives, butterfly knives, sword-sticks, knuckle-dusters
  • any weapon which is disguised as something else
  • equipment for using cannabis or methamphetamine

You need a permit to import these items:

  • ivory in any form, including jewelry, and carvings
  • tortoise or sea turtle shell jewelry, and ornaments
  • meat or food derived from whales, dolphins, rare crane, and pheasants, or sea turtles
  • medicines containing musk, or rhinoceros or tiger derivatives such as ground horn or bone
  • carvings or other things made from whalebone or bone from other marine mammals
  • cat skins
  • trophies of sea turtles, all big cats, rare reptiles, cranes, pheasants, bears, antelope, and deer
  • live species, including pet eagles, hawks, owls and parrots, many cacti, orchids, cycads, and cyclamens
  • carnivorous plants.

You may not be able to bring some medicines into NZ, especially controlled drugs. This includes medicines containing pseudoephedrine.

You might be able to bring in prescription medicines if you can show us a registered medical practitioner’s prescription.

Agricultural items

Any pests or diseases that come in with your items could cause serious damage to New Zealand’s environment and economy.

You must declare any items that could be risky on your passenger arrival card.

Risky items include:

  • food
  • fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, honey, ingredients used in cooking, and all dairy products
  • alive or dead plants and seeds
  • wooden items
  • alive or dead animals
  • alive or dead animal products
  • traditional/herbal medicines
  • any shoes, sports or outdoor equipment you’ve used.

If you don’t declare these items, MPI might:

  • fine, you
  • prosecute you.

Once MPI officers have inspected your items, they may return them to you. In some cases, they will need to treat your items first – you will have to pay for this service.

You also may not be able to bring in some animal and plant products.

Children’s crayons, finger paints, and watercolor paints

To protect children from toxic elements (such as lead, mercury, and chromium) in their graphic materials, there are strict controls on importing children’s watercolor paints, finger paints, and crayons.

These materials must meet the conditions set in the Graphic Materials Group Standard 2009, which can be found on the EPA website. If you have any questions about the importation of these goods, contact the Environmental Protection Authority(EPA).

The obligation is on importers to establish that the substances they are importing do not fall within the scope of the “Hazardous Substances and New Organisms(HSNO) Act 1996 you are in any doubt you should contact EPA.

Endangered species

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) is designed to prevent trade in endangered, threatened, or exploited species.

CITES covers alive or dead plants and animals, and any products made from them. This includes souvenirs. You need a special permit (from Department of Conservation) to bring these items into or out of NZ.

Equipment for smoking or taking drugs

You can’t bring methamphetamine and cannabis utensils and their parts, including any pipe with a heatproof bowl into NZ. This includes:

  • bongs and hash pipes
  • vaporizers and their parts
  • roach clips with a pincer or tweezers
  • any item for using methamphetamine.

Exception: Tobacco pipes aren’t included.

Firearms and weapons

You need an NZ police permit to bring firearms (including airguns) into NZ. You must get the permit before you arrive here.

Some weapons are prohibited items, and you won’t be able to bring them in. These include:

  • flick knives
  • butterfly knives
  • swordsticks
  • knuckle-dusters
  • any weapon disguised as something else.

Human ashes

You can bring human ashes into NZ with you, but you must declare them. We recommend that you have a copy of the person’s death or cremation certificate with you.

If you send human ashes by post, you must declare on the postal declaration that the package contains human ashes. You must include a copy of the death or cremation certificate in the package.

Objectionable material

A publication is objectionable if it describes, depicts, expresses or otherwise deals with matters such as obscenity, horror, indecency, crime, cruelty or violence in such a manner that the availability of the publication is likely to be injurious to the public good.

This could include – but is not limited to – films, videos, computer games, DVDs, CD-ROMs, books, posters, music recordings, magazines, photographs, paintings, t-shirts and computer files.

Any publication or item that might be considered objectionable must be declared on arrival in New Zealand.

These penalties also apply to use the internet or social media apps to download and upload electronic files that are objectionable. Bringing or importing other items that are considered to be indecent or obscene could also result in seizure and prosecution.

Radio transmitters and telecommunications equipment

Some transmitting devices interfere with radio or television broadcasts.

Before you bring in any of the following items, make sure they meet the NZ technical standards set by Radio Spectrum Management:

  • dog-tracking devices
  • radio transmitters
  • cordless phones
  • cellphones (mobile phones)
  • baby monitor,
  • similar equipment.

Vaporizers

The importing of vaporizers that can be used for administering cannabis, regardless of the purchaser’s intention, is strictly prohibited and they are liable to be seized at the border and destroyed.

Prohibited and restricted exports

Some items are prohibited or restricted – you may not be able to take them out of NZ without a permit, or at all. These include:

  • pounamu (greenstone) in its natural state
  • paua
  • wildlife
  • antiquities
  • some works of art.

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Where can I contact the customs in case of any queries?

If you are still not sure whether you can bring in or take something out of NZ, you contact the customs at:
For all general inquiries, please get in touch via our inquiry form below or our national contact center on the numbers listed. These numbers and email addresses are monitored from Monday to Friday, 0700 to 1800 (excluding public holidays).
Customs contact information
Calling from New Zealand
0800 428 786
Calling from Australia
1 800 301 861
Calling from overseas
+64 9 927 8036
Postal address
New Zealand Customs Service
PO Box 2218
Wellington 6140
Physical address
The Customhouse
1 Hinemoa Street
Harbour Quays
Wellington 6011

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